Charles E. Jarrell Contracting Company Inc.
- Written by: Eric Gundberg
- Produced by: Sean O'Reilly
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Charles E. Jarrell Contracting Company Inc. (Jarrell) was founded in 1954, and has since offered a matchless engineering and construction philosophy combined with a strong emphasis on design-build projects. The intelligence, education and experience of Jarrell’s employees reflect the company’s philosophy, by consistently providing quality solutions and delivering exceptional results for each customer.
Jarrell is one of the nation’s largest and most respected mechanical contracting companies. Michael Jarrell, CEO of Jarrell, is proud of the company’s origins. Located in St. Louis, Mo., the company was founded by Michael’s father, Charles E. Jarrell. The company was formally known as Charles E. Jarrell and Associates, when Charles got an early break by establishing a relationship with the design-build market with national retailer JC Penney.
“After he returned from World War II, where he was involved in refrigeration for the Navy, my father worked for a large manufacturer of air conditioning equipment and then decided to go off on his own in the mid-50s. He was successful in bidding a JC Penney store, and ended up designing and building the HVAC systems for over 400 JC Penney’s nation-wide,” reveals Michael.
Adjustment to New Market Reality
Jarrell currently works in a variety of energy related areas. One area the company focuses on is Energy Star Registration and Certification of Properties, which allows the company to focus on benchmarking the energy usage of current operating facilities in order to give an overall baseline of energy performance. Another area is energy audits, which provides clients with access to building a blueprint in order to reduce energy and save money overall. Jarrell collaborates with utility companies and tax professionals to ensure all incentives are accessible to each client. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning is another area Jarrell specializes in, due to the fact these account for nearly 50 percent of a building’s power consumption. The company includes recommendations on the entire building’s power usage in its audits, in order for total transparency.
Michael says that the company has had to adjust to the new market, but has done so successfully. “When there was a more active private market, we were known primarily for our design-build abilities. In 2008, we did over $90 million annual volume. At the moment, we’re mostly concentrating on federal projects for the government and the U.S. Military. A great deal of this being on a design-build basis, institutional work, industrial work and service work including energy retrofits.” Michael further outlines that the company employs over 280 personnel and is on track to gross around $80 million in sales in 2011.
“We also offer clients a top-notch service department. We have over 100 trucks on the road and our service department is booming now more than ever as our clients are trying to get the most out of their existing systems instead of buying new,” continues Michael.
With Jarrell’s over 55 years in the industry, the company has had the opportunity to work on several high-profile projects. Michael says that he is proud of the company’s recent work on one St. Louis institution. The Fabulous Fox Theatre was built in 1929 and recently underwent a major renovation to bring some of its equipment up to code. The theater’s air-conditioning system still had parts that had been installed in 1929. Jarrell designed, built and installed a new state-of-the-art system for the theatre.
A LEED Rated Historic Building
The company also completed another successful project at the Security Building in downtown St. Louis. The building is one of Jarrell’s 13 LEED-certified projects. At the building’s completion in 2007, it became one of the few historical rehab buildings to achieve LEED Silver certification in the country.
The challenge and solutions to completing the project are outlined on the company’s website, “Jarrell’s high performance, efficient HVAC system includes a variable air volume system with hot water heat. The vertical 54-inch round duct that was installed by Jarrell feeds floors two through nine from a central 60,000 CFM air handling unit. The system offers six zones of control on each floor. The existing multi-zone duct was used to minimize the first cost on each floor. Refrigerant R-134 chillers were used for added efficiencies and LEED compliance. The system has successfully incorporated C02 sensors, which allow outdoor air dampers to increase ventilation rate effectiveness.”
Michael also notes that the company has found itself on a large number of military bases over the last couple of years. “One of our clients is very active building Military Welfare and Recreation facilities on bases throughout the country and worked with us on a number of those projects.”
The company, which is proudly pro-union, has been somewhat insulated from the economic downturn to date – in part because of its federal work – but also due to its enormous backlog of projects. “Two years ago, we had about $65 million in design-build backlog. It is currently at about $30. By putting a strong emphasis on finding the next project and shifting the emphasis to some degree to the plan and spec market, we do expect total revenues to drop in 2012, unfortunately,” says Michael.
The title of CEO is a new one for Michael. He reveals that he recently handed over the reins as company president to his son, Michael S. Jarrell. “All four of my children work at Jarrell, we’re a third-generation family-owned firm. I’ve worked here all of my life and so have my children. They would work summers in the service department and engineering department through high school and college.”
Michael is proud to announce that his three boys and one daughter all graduated from college with mechanical engineering degrees, and three of the four are licensed professional engineers. “Michael S. graduated from Rice University, Jeff from Vanderbilt and Christopher and Kim from the University of Tulsa.”
Michael says that the company is routinely ranked as one of the top 100 largest mechanical contractors in the country and that it is the second largest mechanical contractor in the St. Louis region according to the St. Louis Business Journal. With over 55 years in the industry, a dedication to customer service and quality craftsmanship combined with a roster of successfully completed projects, it’s easy to see how Michael Jarrell and Charles E. Jarrell Contracting Company would become a success.
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